After the Carbon County Board of Commissioners holds its regular meeting, it may then reconstitute itself as the Carbon County Election Board. Edie Lukasevich, Linda, and I attended the meeting of the Election Board this morning and discussed some issues that surfaced recently.
In my testimony, I noted how difficult it is to find volunteers for a job that starts at 6 a.m. and runs to 8:30 p.m. I also mentioned that I have had personal experience with screwups that can arise when working as a polling place official. I was in charge of a polling place in San Anselmo when we put a space heater too close to the secure box that held the ballots. We burned a hole in it, exposing the ballots. Luckily, none of them caught fire.
I then noted some of the problems that cropped up at the recent primary. In Penn Forest, one worker asked voters if they were smart. When voters responded with bewilderment, she then asked if they were Republican or Democrat. If the voter said Democrat, she said, “I guess you’re not too smart.” In Nesquehoning a candidate was inside the polling place, but not to vote. In Mahoning a worker was downright rude to people who did not have ID.
I noted that the Registrar Lisa Dart and her assistant Jane Krebs did an amazing job. It is a two-person office responsible for the entire county. I explained that I was not criticizing their work. My suggestions were for clear rules, increased recruitment efforts, better training of workers, and election day monitoring.
Edie Lukasevich then discussed the way the absentees were handled. The Registrar mailed them out in alphabetical order by municipality. If you were in Beaver Meadows or Banks, the absentees were mailed early. If you were in Towamensing or Weissport, some absentee voters received their ballots too late to return them. The Board said that would not happen again.
Linda Christman asked the Board it the County photographic unit could be transported to assisted living facilities to ensure that those residents would have IDs. She was told that the equipment was too big to transport, but that the Board would look into ways to ensure that residents of assisted living facilities could get IDs.
I was quite pleased with the Board. They listened attentively, discussed the issues, and thanked us for bringing the problems to their attention. They know that the upcoming election will not be easy, and I’m hoping they will take steps to see that the process runs as smoothly as it can.